Are Tight Hamstrings Causing Your Back Pain?

Tight hamstrings

As we know, there are many, many different possible causes of back pain. What may contribute to one person’s pain, may not affect another’s at all, and you may be surprised to learn that lower back pain can be caused by tight hamstrings. We are all different, and there is no “one way” to fix back pain. 

Where are the hamstrings? 

Sometimes, tight hamstrings are the culprit, especially for low back pain. However, this muscle group is notorious for being too tight in many individuals, not just those that suffer from back pain. The hamstrings are a group of three muscles on the back of the thigh. They attach at one end on the ischial tuberosity (otherwise known as the sits bone, because you sit down on it) and at the other end they attach below the knee joint so they can assist with knee flexion as well as hip extension. 

Why do tight hamstrings cause back pain? 

Hamstrings are in your legs, so at first glance, it may not be obvious why they can have such an effect on the low back. More often than not, pain in one area of the body causes pain elsewhere. We may think of our body as a compilation of individual parts, but when you look deeper into anatomy, you see that everything is connected far more than it seems. The tighter the hamstrings are, the more they pull on their attachment sites. One of which we already learned is on the back side of the pelvic girdle. Tension in this spot translates to increased tension and pressure in the low back. The hamstrings pull also forces the pelvic girdle to tilt backwards and negatively affect spinal alignment.  

Stretch it out! 

One of the most common hamstring stretches is: reach down and touch your toes. While this can be a great stretch for beginners, there are other, more interesting ways to stretch your hamstrings! Watch the video to see some great hamstring stretches with a little strengthening mixed in too: 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking these exercises are only for people with back pain, or assuming your hamstrings are in good shape. Give these a shot and feel the tension melt away!